Category Archives: Travel

Wine weekend :)

Last weekend, Molly was kind enough to invite us to her family’s house in St. Helena. I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for weeks and it was a wonderful treat.

Friday afternoon, we loaded up the car, and asked ourselves, what critical item will we forget this time? (Baby wipes. Last time it was Diego’s travel bassinet, it’s always something…) Two hours later, we were in PARADISE:

There was so much to love about the weekend, but the best part was being with close friends, reveling and kvetching about this awesome, sometimes chaotic, life chapter. As someone noted, each conversation was about 30% incomplete, stories were told, and re-told, as one of us was always distracted by the next naptime, feeding, or drink refresher. It was definitely good to be in such good company.

Diego has ridiculous fomo and didn’t want to sleep. So, he joined us for dinner on the porch :)


We spent most of Saturday playing in the pool…



And it was gorgeous!

Saturday afternoon, we ventured to Trinchero  enjoyed some white wine on the patio.

The parent paparazzi:

These babies!!!!!


Sunday came wayyyy too soon and it was time to go back to reality. We stopped at Gott’s for burgers and shakes and made our way back home.

Thankful for this wonderful weekend with great friends! Thank you, Molly and Jon!!

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Filed under Reunions, Travel, Weekends

Pinecrest! 

Last week, as the temperatures crept higher, David suggested we get out of town. “Pinecrest?” he said.


We quickly booked a room and were on the road the next day. Gians sandwiches in hand, we checked in and walked straight to the lake. 


It’s such a pretty spot-the tall shady trees, crisp water, and big blue sky.


We chilled in the shade and took turns hanging with Diego and dipping our toes in the water.


It’s also a great spot for first time parents. The rooms are walking distance from the lake, so we didn’t have to lug down the diaper bag or worry about feedings-it was a quick walk back to the room.


There’s BBQ grills all along the lake. In the evening, David grilled corn and brats for dinner. I poured myself a big glass of wine and took in that view!


There’s a pretty magnificent hike around the lake. We enjoyed it last year, but were not prepared to do it with Diego. Instead, we opted for a short morning walk-and Diego got to meet Smokey Bear!



On the way home, we stopped at Twain Hart for hearty sandwiches and salads at the Rock of Twain Hart.


Ha! The same expression! 

Taking turns at the lake, actually, taking the trip in general, I couldn’t help but think of a passage from Catherine Newman’s Catastrophic Happiness:


On the one hand, there is the slight abusurdity of trips with a baby-Diego wont remember them, and it’s much more for our enjoyment than his. But maybe that’s ok? We delight in trying these new things with Diego, even if it’s not memorable for him, and it requires more effort from us. I am so grateful that we can take him on (simple) adventures, and see the places we’ve seen before, but this time, with chubby little legs kicking out of the Bjorn. In those moments, like Newman says, I want only now, even if it isn’t totally necessary. 

And…once we got our AC fixed, we all returned home, a bit more refreshed from the quick trip away :)

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Lee’s birthday weekend!

Wednesday was my my dad’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Dad! Feeling very grateful for the weekend we spent together celebrating.  Knowing this was a special birthday and we would all want to be together, my mom generously invited us to an awesome weekend in San Francisco.  We spent two nights in the city, enjoying good restaurants, celebrating Dad and seeing friends.  Some photos from the trip:
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It only took two false starts and one-almost-forgotten piece of luggage to get the three of us and allllllll the baby stuff in the car and on the road.  We met up with my parents at the hotel and headed straight to lunch at Wayfare Tavern. It was around the corner from our hotel and I’ve always wanted to try the fried chicken (so good!).

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Ha! We look like two kids whose parents let them try a sip of beer at Thanksgiving. My mule was refreshing, but David’s Tavern Sour was incredible.

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A special moment: David showing Diego the Transamerica Pyramid.  He fell in love with the building as a kid, and credits it for sparking his interest in cities.

Although we were celebrating my dad, my parents kindly offered to watch Diego Saturday night so we could go out (hooray for grandparents!!).  On the way to dinner, David and I realized that while we had been out a few times without Diego, this would be our first dinner out together.  We made a reservation for Le Colonial and got a table on the pretty patio. I LOVE the tile floor.

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After watching the SF episode of The Layover, I’ve been SO curious to check out the Tonga Room.  We never made it when we lived in Oakland and I was eager to check it out.

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What a TRIP.  The hourly rain, the band in the pool, and the over-the-top kitschy absurdity of it all was totally charming.  AND we got to hang out with Mr. Bress and Orit!

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AND, it being Memorial Day Weekend, it was only fitting to run into a bunch of (much, much, younger) former tour guides while dancing to Sweet Caroline.


After the late (for us) night, we were all up bright and early the next morning for a walk through Muir Woods. Diego’s first national park!

In my growing collection of “David walking with stroller” photos, the backdrop of this one is my favorite. 

After the good walk, my dad recommended Mill Valley for lunch. It was a delightfully, charming surprise! And lunch at Kitchen Sunnyside was just right.


That evening, we all got dressed up for the main event: Dad’s birthday dinner! COULD NOT HANDLE this outfit. Such a dapper little Diego!


I think Thanksgiving was the last time we were all together for dinner. My heart felt so grateful and happy to be gathered at a table with my favorite people, toasting to my dad. He deserves to be celebrated every weekend. Very, very thankful we got to thank him together on this special weekend.


And dinner at Chaya was exceptional. Such a treat!

In a fortuitous twist of events, Taryn and Jenna happened to be in the Bay Area for the weekend.  We originally planned on picnicking at Dolores on Monday morning, but facing a chilly morning, we opted for the Ferry Building instead. Can’t describe how special it was to meet my best friend’s amazing wife AND introduce them to Diego!

14 years of friendship!!


Kicking off a week of Diego and baby meetings, we all got to meet sweet baby William! Molly, John and sweet Sutter joined us and we got to admire their charming baby boy. Baby Bruins!!


After Gotts for burgers and milkshakes, it was time to head back home. So thankful for the weekend of food, friends, the city, and most of all, celebrating Lee!!!

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Dillon Beach

During our first summer back in CA, Shaiya organized an amazing surprise 30th birthday weekend for Sachin in Yosemite-and a whole group of us tagged along :) That weekend sparked a happy tradition of a winter/summer weekend trips-in Tahoe, Santa Cruz, Tahoe again, and Point Reyes.

This year, we decided on Dillon Beach for a winter weekend. It was unbelievably gorgeous.


All of these photos are from the deck of the house-the view was unreal!

We all decided take a vacation day on Monday and do a Saturday – Monday weekend. This worked out REALLY well as everyone was able to avoid traffic and start the trip early and relaxed.

We had to be out of our house that whole week (grrrrrrrrr tenting and fumigation for wood beetles-so so so frustrating) so David and I extended the weekend. After work on Friday, we stayed at the Doubltree in Berkeley.


I picked it for the great rate (and the chocolate cookies) but it ended up being a really nice hotel! It rained the whole time, but I imagine the view of the Berkeley Marina is gorgeous when it’s sunny.

The next day, after picking up my favorite kale Caesar salad from our beloved and very missed Market Hall, we drove to my office holiday party.  I love that we do our holiday party after the stress and busyness of the holiday season-everyone is relaxed and it’s something to look forward to in the winter. It was so nice to spend the afternoon together-and the surprise baby celebration was extra special :)

It was a relatively short drive from Oakland to Dillon Beach-much easier than going to Point Reyes-and after winding through some gorgeous pastures and farmland, we pulled up to the house….

 

…and hunkered down right here for the next 48 hours.

With this view, there really wasn’t any need to leave.

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We’re now a pretty large group, but the house had space for everyone.  And, most importantly, a massive kitchen.

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Saturday night, Jon made bo ssam and Zac made kimchi and ginger scallion sauce and it was all amazing.

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Sunday was rainy, and I was feeling pregnant and tired. I never made it to the actual Dillon Beach-opted for a game of Scrabble with David and a nap–but I hope to go someday! Later that evening, Super Bowl prep began.  Everyone brought or made their favorite junk food (my favorites: Brian’s Buffalo Chicken Dip, Molly’s Endive Goat Cheese boats, and Yasser’s Jalepeno Dip) and we half-watched the game (or maybe, I just half-watched the game?).  It was so much more fun hanging out with the babies!

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loved waking up to this scene on Monday.  Breakfast with some of the best people–and again, that view.  Could not get over it.  I hope we continue doing these trips as I always leave so grateful for our supportive friends and the comfort 0f all being together.

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Thank you, Dillon Beach :)

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Central Coast mini-vacation

Last month, just before Thanksgiving, David and I spent a few days on the Central Coast.  I love Thanksgiving vacations because work is generally quieter that week, making it much easier to quickly relax and enjoy. And it was very relaxing and beautiful.

I worked from home on Monday, and after work, we hit the 5, bound for Cambria. Usually we stop at In-N-Out, but the hotel night came with dinner, so we pushed on to make a later reservation.

When I found out I was pregnant, I’m embarrassed to say my first instinct wasn’t to research baby books, but it was to research and plan a mini-vacation (a babymoon, I guess).  When you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s hard to make travel plans because you have no idea if/when you’ll be mobile. So, it was nice to have some idea of the timeline and begin planning some fun trips. I immediately ruled out anything international, primarily for cost, and I was so exhausted (first trimester) that the thought of a long flight lacked any appeal. All I wanted to do was 1) be near an ocean or pool, 2) not feel pressured to sight see, and 3) sleep, sleep, sleep in a nice hotel. (Again, first trimester). I booked and cancelled hotels in Sedona and San Diego before realizing-hello! Santa Barbara! We loved our honeymoon, we could combine it with our travel to Irvine for Thanksgiving, and it offered everything I wanted.

SB felt a bit far for a post-work drive and I found a great deal for a hotel in Cambria, so we settled on that for the first night.


We stayed at the Cambria Pines Lodge and it was…interesting. The price was right, the grounds were gorgeous, and it included a surprisingly delicious dinner at the restaurant. So no real complaints, but it just wasn’t somewhere I would recommend as a destination-though great for a night while traveling through the coast.

After breakfast, we drove to Cayucos and picked up some super sweet Brown Butter Cookies before driving down to Santa Barbara.


We stopped at The Nook for lunch and I immediately felt that sense of-ahhh, yes, we’re in Southern California. Slightly warmer weather, and just a hint of an ocean breeze. The bar had an incredible selection of beer on tap and a huge fridge with imported bottles.  

With such happy memories of the Fess Parker Santa Barbara, we decided to stay there the next two nights.


Our room faced the ocean (hooray!!) and I camped out on the balcony for much of the next two days, reading Commonwealth.

Later that night, we walked to The Lark for dinner. By far, my favorite meal of the trip. Wish I had the skills and discretion to effectively take a photo of the restaurant, but I don’t, so I’ll just have to remember it. It’s a beautiful wood beamed, brick walled, room and the food matches the stunning decor. A very nice, leaisurly, smallish plates dinner.


The next day, we walked around State Street for a bit and checked out Jeannine’s for brunch. I wondered if it served as the inspiration for Meryl Streep’s bakery in It’s Complicated. It’s thoughtfully decorated, bursting with buttery croissants and pastries, and clearly has a cult following. I would go back, but not order as much. David and I can certainly eat but the portions were large even for us (which is saying a lot).


Later that afternoon, I splurged on a prenatal massage at the hotel. It was really nice. The massage therapist was also a doula, and she placed my hand on my belly at the end of the massage, to rest with the baby. I don’t know why, but I just thought it was so sweet!


It was a bit too cold to fully swim, but I dropped my toes in the water to relax. The rest of the trip was nice and quiet: naps and reading.

Craving cheesy pasta, we decided on Trattoria Vitoria for dinner. Being the night before Thanksgiving, it was packed with families and had a cozy, classic Italian atmosphere. 

The next morning, we watched the Macy’s parade over room service breakfast (vacation is the best). It was nice to be in the US for Thanksgiving! The dance performances in the parade were amazing. Later, I took a long walk along the beach, and it was wonderful seeing all the families out, biking and walking along the water before their Thanksgiving dinners. Once again, I felt very grateful for the jaw dropping natural beauty of the California coast.


The best part was saying goodbye to vacation only to turnaround and head to Irvine for Thanskgiving dinner. This is this last big getaway David and I will take, just the two of us, for a while, and I’m so thankful we got to spend some time soaking up some sun and quiet time such a pretty place.

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Filed under Marriage, Travel